Future of Selma High School to be discussed Tuesday

Published 12:52 am Sunday, May 17, 2009

A host of people interested in the future of public education in Selma are expected to attend Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan’s Town Hall Meeting Tuesday night. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Pickard Auditorium.

The topic of the meeting is whether to renovate or build a new high school. Invited panelists are Selma Mayor George Evans, Maria Glover, chief school financial officer; Wanda McCall, principal of Selma High School; Ray Mathiews, auxiliary services coordinator and representatives from Goodwin Mills & Cawood, McKee & Associates and Volkert & Associates Inc.

This is not the first time the topic has come up. Several years ago, former Mayor James Perkins proposed the construction of a new high school to replace the one on Broad Street.

Email newsletter signup

In March, Obasohan formed a committee to research future options for Selma High School. These options include: an extensive renovation of the existing building, a new building constructed on the present site and a new building constructed on another site.

Two years ago, Volkert & Associates Inc. of Mobile performed an assessment of Selma High School. The engineering firm estimated renovations of the high school would cost about $20 million. Construction of a new high school would cost between $38 and $40 million, according to the assessment. It’s not expected that the prices would have fluctuated much since the assessment.

At the time, the firm identified a number of problems at the high school, including underused space, water damage in the auditorium, outdated dressing rooms in the gymnasium, a poorly located cafeteria and a plethora of problems in the east wing, which the engineering firm labeled as “dilapidated.”

The east wing was constructed more than 50 years ago and has not undergone a renovation since that time. The main building at the high school was renovated about a decade ago.

Other issues: the roof leaks in the main band building, mold on the ceiling and inadequate lighting.

Some teachers have complained of too few electrical outlets and the major systems — plumbing, electrical, air conditioning — are outdated.

In March, Obasohan and others toured the structure to examine the possibilities. “To me,” he said, “it’s unacceptable. It’s just not adequate at all.”